By Bill Webb
On Aug. 17, the Word&Way Board of Trustees voted with regret to eliminate the newspaper's development officer position and release Kevin Quinn, who had served in that role since May 2003. The board also approved a severance as Kevin seeks a new position.
A development officer is a rarity for a state Baptist newspaper like Word&Way. I believe we are one of only two such papers to ever staff such a position. Our position was created to augment the fund-raising efforts we were already doing through donor mailings. Our goal for a full-time development officer was to increase both operating funds and strengthen our reserves with long-term gifts.
We had visions of getting a full-fledged development program underway and seeing it blossom once a lawsuit filed against us by the Missouri Baptist Convention and six congregations was put to rest. To be sure, Kevin got our development program off to a good start. However, continued delays have caused the litigation to drag on and on, much to our consternation. That has diminished the potential of long-term, undergirding financial commitments, at least until the litigation finally reaches its end, a process that could take years.
As a result, our trustees acknowledged, Kevin found himself with a task that probably was impossible to completely fulfill. The only benefit of the decision to phase out this position is a reduction in staffing costs. We lament that Kevin is losing his position but we believe this action will help us fulfill a pledge to our supporters to live within our means. We continue to strive to be good stewards of funds faithfully and sacrificially provided for our newspaper ministry.
Kevin has become a good friend to every member of our staff and is highly regarded by our trustees. He has effectively carried the message of our mission, vision, commitment and needs to Missouri Baptists. His work has helped our financial bottom line. His expertise has helped us transition to a philanthropic organization. He has represented our task and our staff in a fine way in his relationships with friends of Word&Way scattered all over Missouri and beyond. He has been ethical in his conduct, a professional in his field. We will miss him.
Needless to say, our need for financial support continues. Admittedly, without Kevin, it will be difficult to maintain the kind of contact we would like with donors and other friends. But Word&Way and its staff and trustees are committed to this cause. We will continue to appeal for help because we believe that a free and fair Baptist newspaper among Missouri Baptists is essential.
We pray God's blessings upon Kevin as he seeks God's will in a new position. We also ask prayer for our staff as we move forward without him and his expertise.